A Magical Roleplaying Experience 

Welcome Back! It's time for our 20th Start of Term!

The region encompassing England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland while the Triwizard Tournament is under way at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry.
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 #39736  by Harry Potter
 
“Mad-Eye is dead.”

The cold and sudden stillness of Death’s presence became quite noticeable to everyone in the Burrow. Harry could not quite comprehend it. Mad-Eye, the tough, brave, battle hardened survivor was killed by Voldemort tonight.

“It happened just after we broke out of the circle,” Harry heard Bill explain to Mr. Weasley, “Voldemort went straight for them. Dung panicked and Disapparated. Voldemort’s curse hit mad-Eye full in the face, he fell backward off his broom and-there was nothing we could do, we had a half a dozen death eaters on our own tail…”

Harry flashed an apologetic look at Tonks, his face a mixture of guilt and anger. She had been close to Made-Eye and undoubtedly his favorite protegee at the Ministry of Magic. Having lost Dumbledore as a mentor, Harry found a great deal of empathy for her loss. He joined the others in a toast to Mad-Eye’s sacrifice as Bill made rounds with the firewhisky. But even as the amber liquid seared his throat, dispelling the numbness and surrealism, Harry couldn’t help wonder where the plan had gone wrong.

Members of the Order and a handful of Weasley’s had shown up to remove him from the Dursley’s abandoned home before Voldemort could seize the opportunity to do it himself. Despite his protests, Ron, Hermione, Fred, George, Fluer and hesitantly Mundungus, all agreed to take on Harry’s image through the ingenuity of polyjuice potion as a fail safe to move the real Harry to one of twelve designated safe houses established by the Order. All had risked their lives tonight including Lupin, Mad-Eye, Tonks, Bill, Kingsley, Hagrid, and Mr. Weasley. They made the necessary arrangements to travel discreetly through the use of broom, thestral, and motorbike to avoid detection from the Ministry of Magic and still, somehow, Voldemort knew of the plan...

“Somebody must ‘ave been careless.” Harry recognized the voice as Fleur’s.“Somebody let slip ze date to an outsider! It is ze only explanation for zem knmowing ze date but not ze ‘ole plan.”

Harry took another drink of his firewhisky, suddenly finding his voice. “ If somebody made a mistake..It’s not their fault.” He was, of course, thinking of Hagrid whom he loved, who had once been tricked into giving Voldemort crucial information in exchange for a dragon’s egg. “I don’t believe that anyone in this room would ever sell me out to Voldemort. Not ever.”

Harry caught Lupin’s eye but before he could argue that it was NOT the same as his father trusting Peter Petigrew as secret keeper, he was silenced by Bill and Lupin’s sudden announcement that they were leaving to fetch Mad-Eyes body...or what was left of it.

“I’ve got to go too,” said Harry, rubbing his forehead, his scar prickling. “You’re all in danger if I stay here. If Voldemort finds-” He was suddenly cut off by several voices of protest from the group. Harry felt too angry and frustrated to argue with the very people he considered family and decided it was best to simply remove himself from the overcrowded living room instead.

As he stepped outside, the ringing in his ears amplified. He ventured across the yard, past the magnificent thestrals greedily grazing on wild weeds, to the unkempt garden in which Mrs. Weasley grew her vegetables. The night was quiet, no insects chirping, no gnomes grunting or rutting around in the potatoes. Even the animals were quiet, as if they knew danger lurked in the darkness...
 #39737  by Ginny Weasley
 
Ginny found it stupid, frustrating, agonizing beyond belief to be forced to stay safe at home while half her family risked their lives. She hated having to sit there with her mother in the kitchen, fingers clenched white-knuckled around mugs of tea they did not drink, helplessly waiting to find out whether their loved ones were alive or dead. She should have been there with them, fighting... but Mrs. Weasley, of course, had had none of it...

It was even worse when the fighters got back: each return to the Burrow a blow to Ginny's chest, sudden rushes of relief followed by terrible punches of fear and grief. Ginny calmed herself by focusing on the plan. It was easy, when Harry arrived, to at once list off the order of those who were yet to return; she'd already been repeating their names over and over again in her head like a desperate mantra. Ron and Tonks first, then Dad and Fred. Harry and Hagrid third. George and Lupin. Bill and Fleur. Mundungus and Mad-Eye...

But the last pair never came. "Mad-Eye's dead." Bill's voice was another blow to Ginny's chest. Mad-Eye, fiercer than a dragon and tougher than a manticore... it did not seem real.

"I've got to go too," Harry's voice, clipped and angry, woke Ginny from her disbelief. "You're all in danger if I stay here. If Voldemort finds -"

The room broke out at once into protest, insisting Harry must stay, must not render useless everything they had sacrificed tonight. And while Ginny agreed with her mother, siblings, Hagrid and Hermione, she could see what they could not: the color rising on Harry's neck.

It took a moment for Ginny's eyes to adjust to the darkness of the garden. Harry had not bothered to close the kitchen door as he stalked outside. Ginny shut it softly behind her, squinting out to see where he had gone. The summer air was muggy and peaceful, the clouds in the black sky difficult to discern from the gently blowing hedges of her mother's vegetable patch. The quietness unnerved Ginny, whose nerves still felt shot, but she kept her calm as she approached the dark silhouette leaning against the garden gate.

"I know you want to," Ginny said, stopping behind Harry, "but please don't do the noble thing."

She surprised herself by how thick with emotion the words sounded coming from her mouth. Nor was this at all what she had meant to say. She'd intended to tell him how stupid it was to keep sacrificing himself like this, when this war was upon everyone, all of them, and they were all just as committed to the fight as he was, no matter what he did or what anyone told them. But instead Ginny found herself fighting a burning sensation in the back of her throat.

"If not for them," she continued, "for me."
 #39754  by Harry Potter
 
The sound of approaching footsteps caught Harry’s attention. His shoulders stiffened and his nostrils flared. He was not in the mood to talk to anyone at the moment, and was a second away from telling the person to bugger off until he heard the alarming plea of Ginny’s soft voice behind him. Startled, Harry turned to face her. Asking him to throw away his inherited nobility and forget his quest was as futile as teaching a blasted ended skrewt party tricks; it simply couldn’t be done. Her uncanny ability to understand and accept this was one of the many things he admired about her; which is why he didn’t understand what, exactly, she wanted from him.

For a moment he gazed down at her with a wary expression on his face. To love was to be vulnerable. This was what troubled him most: that despite everything he never stopped loving her after their breaking up. But love and vulnerability was not something he could allow himself the luxury of having if he wanted to win the war against Voldemort.

Finally, Harry spoke, “There’s something I have to do. Something important.” He sighed and reached for her hand, feeling his resolve waning the longer Ginny stood in front of him. “You should know that there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you, but you’re asking me to make a promise I can’t keep.”
 #39755  by Ginny Weasley
 
Ginny shook her head of copper hair, eyes fiery and insistent.

"I know you do," she said, "and I'm not stopping you. I'm saying it's not just you on an island. I know it exhausts you to hear them repeat it, but we're fighting to the end, and not just for you. This war - it's bigger than all of us. All of us know... Mad-Eye knew. So don't do the noble thing and act like you've got to do this all by yourself."

Ginny swallowed. It was very hard to look at Harry without an expression of immense tenderness. She knew that she should not be here, should not be testing either of their resolve to keep apart. She could tell how much it pained him to be close to her. Ginny saw him reach out his hand. She wanted to take it.

"I understand you have to do whatever you have to do. And I know I can't come with you. But... You-Know-Who's strongest when he gets you alone. Trust me as someone who knows."

Ginny looked at Harry's outstretched fingers in the darkness, remembering their warmth, their comfort from just an hour before, while they waited desperately for the others to return. She could hold him now, if she wanted; they were alone. But how many more stolen nights in the garden would they have before it was too much to tear herself away? Before Harry Disapparated on the other side of that very gate, into uncertainty and danger, a world fast coming undone at Voldemort's hand?

Ginny met Harry's eyes, blazing, fierce, and yet beneath it all, empathetic. Her arms remained stiffly at her side.